The Winter King author Bernard Cornwell has explained what differentiates Arthur Pendragon (Iain De Caestecker) from The Last Kingdom's Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymon).


Comparisons between the two shows were bound to happen, as both are adapted from Cornwell's novels, although notably they are produced by entirely different creative teams and do not inhabit a shared universe.

In addition, The Last Kingdom had somewhat more of an action focus, whereas The Winter King contains more political intrigue – partly as a result of Arthur's high status in ancient Britain.

While appearing as a guest on ITVX's official The Winter King podcast, Cornwell compared and contrasted his two heroes, outlining precisely what sets them apart.

"He has greater responsibility than Uhtred," he began. "One of the things that I tried to stress in the books is that there never was a 'King Arthur'. I mean, nothing in the records suggests he was ever a king.

"He was called a warlord, the leader of battles. And that's what Arthur is in the books and in the series. He's a warrior. But he's a very thoughtful warrior and a very responsible warrior."

Cornwell continued: "And he has responsibilities that Uhtred doesn't have. Uhtred's loyalties are towards Bebbanburg and his own people. He doesn't have to make decisions that affect the fate of the whole nation; Arthur does."

Arthur (Iain De Caestecker) wears black armour and rides a black horse in The Winter King finale
Iain De Caestecker stars in The Winter King. Bad Wolf Productions for ITVX/Simon Ridgeway

The Last Kingdom fans will recall that Bebbanburg is Uhtred's ancestral home, which was unjustly taken from him at a young age and became a key location in the show as the warrior attempted to reclaim it.

Meanwhile, Arthur is the illegitimate and outcast son of Uther (Eddie Marsan), the king of Dumnonia, who is called back to save the land when it is left vulnerable to attack.

The author added: "So Arthur is a more thoughtful person. But he's just as effective a war leader because I'm quite sure that's what Arthur was – a leader of battles."

Cornwell revealed that he hasn't met The Winter King star Iain De Caestecker, but thought he worked "perfectly" in the lead role, while he also voiced his support for the diversity in the show (which has come under attack since its debut).

The Winter King is available to stream on ITVX. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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